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Sunday, August 28, 2011
Three things revisited: Seahawks-Broncos

By Mike Sando

Looking back on three things discussed here before the Seattle Seahawks' 23-20 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday night:

1. First-team offense touchdown: The Seahawks left most of their starting offense in the game until quarterback Tarvaris Jackson connected with backup tight end Dominique Byrd for the No. 1 unit's first touchdown of the preseason. There was 14:16 left in the fourth quarter at that point, later in the game than a starting offense would generally play even in a third preseason game. Jackson frequently faced pressure, a common theme for him to this point. He was effective on a couple bootleg throws, but he took five sacks and averaged only 4.2 yards per attempt. Offensive rhythm remained elusive. The Seahawks emptied their backfield on a couple third-down plays. They could not beat the pressure with quick completions in those situations. The team will need better pass protection to develop timing. Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst got no first-team reps. He had to wait longer than expected to enter the game after undrafted rookie receiver Doug Baldwin broke a 105-yard kickoff return. The Seahawks kicked the tying field goal with 1:16 left as if to buy extra reps for Whitehurst, but the Broncos drove down for the winning kick as the fourth quarter expired.

2. Backup running backs. Leon Washington and Justin Forsett generally looked good despite average stats. Washington had a 21-yard run. Though the offense lacked rhythm overall, the screen again showed promise. Washington, healthier in his second season back from a career-threatening leg injury, was a threat as a receiver. His shiftiness and exuberance can be an asset on offense if the Seahawks are serious about working him into their rotation. Starter Marshawn Lynch did not play. Denver defenders tossed Washington and Forsett around a couple times, a reminder that Lynch adds a welcome physical presence.

3. Draft choice on bubble: Fifth-round pick Mark Legree was the player I wanted to watch. He caught my attention with an open-field tackle and a hard hit on the receiver following a Tim Tebow completion. He was also hustling to block for Baldwin during the kickoff return for a touchdown. Cornerback Byron Maxwell, a sixth-round pick from Clemson, seemed to stand out more. He was active on special teams and pressured Tebow.